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Becoming fathers was a four-year project (2011-2015) designed to explore Malawian men’s aspirations and experiences of having children, particularly from te vantage point of men’s involvement in their own and their partner’s reproductive health. We wanted to understand how men cope with reproductive worries and misfortune, including - but not limited to - HIV/AIDS. The overall aim of the work was to help contextualise the reproductive health issues that people experience in Karonga District, a rural area in the north of Malawi, and facilitate sharing and learning from that information.

We recorded the reproductive life stories of 55 men and their female partners over the course of 200 individual interviews. We heard about priority health concerns and reproductive decision making from a further 50 men and women during group discussions split by gender, age and education. And health care workers, herbalists and church leaders contributed their reflections on help-seeking topics raised during the study. Over 150 men and women aged eighteen to 60 took part.

Ethical approval was granted by the Malawi National Health Sciences Research Committee (NHSRC) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants, for research activities and reproduction of photographs and quotations.

Becoming fathers was carried out in partnership with the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) University of Amsterdam, the Karonga Prevention Study, Malawi and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. The exhibition and website was produced in collaboration with On the Record Community Interest Company. 

The work was supported by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek [Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research] NWO-WOTRO Innovational Research Incentives Scheme (VENI Grant C.2520.0299.01.)

All material copyright  © Becoming Fathers, 2015.

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